Park City heavily represented on committee considering another Olympics |

Park City heavily represented on committee considering another Olympics

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

At least five people with significant ties to Park City or the city’s Olympic legacy have been named to a committee that will consider whether Utah should mount a bid for either the Winter Olympics in 2022 or 2026.

The five represent nearly half of the 11-person committee, which was seated midweek by Gov. Gary Herbert, as the state reached the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Any bid for a future Olympics is expected to heavily involve the Park City area, which hosted approximately half of the athletic events in 2002.

The people with significant Park City ties or ties to the city’s Olympic era on the committee include:

  • Eric Heiden, an Olympic speedskating legend who now is an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Park City
  • Colin Hilton, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Athletic Foundation, the organization that now manages the Utah Olympic Park. Hilton once worked for City Hall and was one of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee’s key staffers assigned to the Park City area in 2002.
  • Jim Shea Jr., the skeleton champion in 2002 and a Snyderville Basin resident.
  • Jenni Smith, who is the president and general manager of Park City Mountain Resort.
  • Grant Thomas, who was a high-ranking Salt Lake Organizing Committee staffer in 2002. In his role at the organizing committee, Thomas oversaw the development of the venues and was closely involved in the planning for the Park City area.

    "You’ve got some pretty good representatives from that area," said committee member Jeff Robbins, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, an organization that attracts sporting events like World Cup competitions to the state.

    The committee expects to take three or four months to consider bids in 2022 or 2026. The International Olympic Committee in 2015 will select a city to host the Games in 2022. The 2026 Games will be awarded in 2019.

    Park City has been a key player in winter sports in Utah since long before the Olympics in 2002, and its status as a place that could hold World Cup-caliber ski racing was a selling point of the Olympic bidders in the years before the Games were awarded to the state.

    If the state bids on the 2022 or 2026 Olympics, at least three and possibly four competition venues would probably be located in the area, not counting the cross-country and biathlon track at Soldier Hollow in Wasatch County.

    The Utah Olympic Park would stage the ski jumping and sliding sports, as it did in 2002. PCMR and Deer Valley Resort, both Olympic venues in 2002, would probably be tapped as competition venues again. Canyons, meanwhile, might also be part of a bid package after having not been a competition venue in 2002.

    Robbins envisions an Olympic bid, if one is mounted, that would acknowledge Park City’s winter sports legacy. He noted Deer Valley’s well-regarded freestyle skiing venue and PCMR’s respect in snowboarding competition circles. He said Canyons is advancing as a competition venue as well.

    Shea Jr. also said the Park City area would be critical to any Olympic bid. He said Park City was the "crown jewel" of the Olympics in 2002.

    "Park City will, again, have a significant role, I assume," he said.

    Should the state decide to bid for another Olympics, many more people from the Park City area would become involved. Each of the three resorts would likely take part in the discussions at that point. Officials at City Hall and the County Courthouse would also become involved.

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